Nuclear Medicine is the use of radioactive material to help diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. Nuclear Medicine provides unique information about your body and health. Nuclear Medicine is an extraordinary medical tool that helps physicians to diagnose disease earlier, making treatment more effective. Nuclear Medicine procedures are widely used to test and treat patients. The procedure typically will last 1 to 4 hours depending on the information requested by your physician.

The purpose of Nuclear Medicine procedures are:

  • Effective in early detection and treatment.
  • A relatively safe and painless procedure.
  • Provides accurate images to study tissue and organs.
  • Provides valuable information about how tissue and organs work.
  • Detects a wide variety of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and infections.

Images will be taken with different types of equipment. You may be asked to stand, sit, or lie down on a table depending on the scan your physician has requested.

After the exam the radiologist will provide your physician with an interpretation of the results of your Nuclear Medicine scan. Your physician can then make a diagnosis and explain the findings.

Charleston Radiologists offer the following Nuclear Medicine services:

  • Abscess Localization
  • Bone Imaging–SPECT and Triple Phase
  • Brain Imaging with Static and Flow as well as SPECT Imaging
  • Cisternography
  • CSF Leak Localization
  • Cardiac Gaiting with ejection fraction and SPECT
  • Gastric Emptying
  • GI Bleed
  • Meckel’s Scan
  • Hepatobiliary Scan
  • Liver/Spleen Scan
  • Lung Ventilation/Perfusion
  • Lymphatic and Lymph Node Imaging
  • Sentinel Node Injection of the Breast
  • Parathyroid Imaging
  • Thyroid Scan with Uptakes and Therapies
  • Renal Scan with and without ACE
  • Shillings Test
  • Testicular Scans
  • Tumor Localizations

Patient Preparation


Nuclear Medicine Bone Scans

  • Detects areas of bone growth, fractures, tumors and infections.
  • The technician will give you an injection and you will be asked to return in about 3 hours.
  • Pictures of your bones will be taken.

Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Imaging Scans

  • Used to study blood flow to the heart, heart functions, or diagnose a recent heart attack.
  • Your physician may ask you to avoid certain foods and medications the night before your exam.

Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptakes and Scans

  • Two-day testing used to diagnose disorders of the thyroid gland.
  • You will be asked to avoid foods, liquids and certain medications the night before your exam.
  • Day One

    • The technician will provide you with a pill to swallow.
    • You may leave the hospital at this time and return two hours later for the uptake.

    Day Two

    • The technician will give you an injection.
    • Fifteen minutes later the technician will begin your scan.

    Nuclear Medicine Liver and Gallbladder Scans

    • Used to diagnose liver disorders and gallbladder disease.
    • When you are scheduled you will be asked to avoid all foods and medications the night before the exam.
    • The technician will give you an injection.
    • Pictures of your liver and gallbladder will be taken.

    Nuclear Medicine Lung Scans

    • Detects blood clots in the lungs.
    • Pictures of your lungs will be taken.
    • A chest x-ray of your lungs will also be taken.

    Nuclear Medicine Renal Scans

    • Used to detect disease, damage, and malformations of kidneys and urinary tract.
    • The technician will give you an injection.
    • Pictures of your kidneys and urinary tract will be taken.
    • You may be asked to avoid certain medications for this exam.